Charity Navigator

Rating: 3.33 stars   21 reviews

Issues: Human Services, Philanthropy

Location: 139 Harristown Road Suite 201 Glen Rock NJ 07452 USA

Mission: Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. As a result, we know as much about the true fiscal operations of charities as anyone. We’ve used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess the financial health of 5,500 of America’s best-known charities.
Results: Information about our effectiveness and results can be found on our website: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1113.
Geographic areas served: national
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a board member for several years and can tell you that Charity Navigator is making a serious difference. The staff is dedicated, hardworking, and passionate about the mission, and the web site helps steer donors away from bad non-profits. While the rating system continues to evolve, Charity Navigator has helped bring needed transparency and accountability to the non-profit world.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...through using the web site and hearing from charities that they have tried to improve their rating.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...give it more money!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I recently met an individual who works in nonprofit management. When I mentioned that I was a former staff member of Charity Navigator, his immediate response was, "We are so impressed by the sheer number of evaluations you guys complete - you must have a hundred people on staff!" In reality, at the time I was working, we had 11 staff members. But with those 11 staffers, we were able to post hundreds of new reviews each month - keeping donors informed and ensuring they had access to current information about their favorite nonprofit(s). The evaluation system is highly efficient thanks to a consistent review process and custom technology, and I can say first-hand that the analysts are also incredibly precise and fair. Charity Navigator also serves as a go-to resource for individuals, donors, and the media with questions about giving, philanthropy trends, or individual organizations. By providing an unbiased, easy-to-understand perspective on the nonprofit world, Charity Navigator helps millions of generous individuals give wisely and with confidence. Simply put, Charity Navigator is a remarkable organization does a lot with a little. They inform and educate millions of donors and promote transparency and accountability to make sure other great nonprofits are given the resources and support they deserve.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

responding to direct donor inquries and hearing back that the information I shared helped them avoid donating to a less-than-stellar organization and ensured their dollars went to the most deserving organization in their issue area of choice.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was pulled into Charity Navigator by its founders, Pat and Marion Dugan--an extraordinarily generous and visionary couple. I quickly became engrossed in its mission and have used my experience running a non-profit to help make it into an institution that will deepen its ability to serve donors. It's simply a terrific organization with brilliant staff and a devoted Board.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping me decide which charities to support.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been involved with Charity Navigator since its inception, first as its PR counsel and, most recently, as a board member. CN more than fills the void in the non-profit world for an objective voice in determining what charities are most responsible with their donors' money -- it's grown into a conscience for the industy and its mere presence helps other 501(c)3's toe the line.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I do not give one dollar to any organization without checking Charity Navigator's ratings.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure every American knew its value.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing how its simple rating system gives an increasingly accurate snapshot of an organization's efficacy.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Intelligent and dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

give a more complete reading of a charity's effectiveness, specifically how well it fulfills its stated mission.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to devote to Charity Navigator.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I first approached Charity Navigator during the early stages of www.grabthetorch.org my goal was to present my business plan, financial parameters, overall strategy and to ask every possible question about best practices in the new world of non-profit management and transparency. I wanted to set a clear course for GTT. The objective to establish high standards and goals that follow the CN rating system. It seemed better to listen to the experts and be pro-active from inception, rather than receive a rating that would affect our reputation and limit our fund-raising capacity. Ken Berger invited me to his office and provided unlimited time and guidance. Our meeting was comfortable and informative. It also gave me an opportunity to establish a dialogue with Mr. Berger to get involved with GTT and share his wisdom with our campers and the upcoming generation of non-profit leadership and civic involvement. CN’s presentations at our summer camps has elevated our curriculum and programs. Several of our speakers and panelists were exposed to CN during our summer camps and now use CN as preferred rating system in their operations. We now use CN was a reference tool for our campers to evaluate non-profits. We believe that CN plays an incredibly important role in guiding donors and other funding resources during this new wave of fiscal transparency. We also believe that every non-profit should be reviewed on a case by case basis and that it’s the responsibility of all potential donors to conduct several layers of research.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

several layers. I used them as a research tool to compare our non-profit with others, added CN policies to our curriculum and included Ken Berger as a featured speaker.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

At a time of a depressed economy, scarce resources and a steady stream of stories about abuses in spending at nonprofits (particularly politically connected ones) the need for a source like Charity Navigator is greater than ever. CN is the ONLY place where donors can get completely unbiased analysis and ratings of nonprofits and of their spending. And with the announced expansion of their system to include Accountability and Performance, CN is poised to be the best in the business. I strongly endorse Charity Navigator.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

analyzing and assessing charities.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-10-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Charity Navigator provides high quality, timely, comprehensive and well designed information that has helped me do high level comparative analyses of different non-profits. This is necessary for me to deliver significant recommendations that affect my client's strategic and tactical decisions.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Consulting assignments

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I was in the office about three days a week and although it's not huge they get a lot of work done. I observed that whenever the phone would ring someone immediately picked it up and would help the caller with their question(be it another charity wondering about their rating or the general public.) I think they are doing important work to help the users to decide where to donate so that the money is used properly.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have used them to help select a charity to donate to

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Charity Navigator was a really friendly work environment. It was a small office with a great sense of community. The only potential negative was that, being so small, I didn't perceive a lot of room for advancement for a career-minded person, but I absolutely enjoyed working there. Regarding the rating system, it's about as fair a system as I can possibly conceive of. The processes in place for the staff would make it impossible to sway a rating, not that any of them would if they could. You can find examples of all types of charities, small or large, volunteer or corporate-style, religious and secular, that get high ratings because they're working well with the resources that they have. It's true that the ratings only address the financial picture. Charity Navigator openly acknowledges the inherent limitations of its ratings and freely encourages donors to use this information as a part of the decision to give. I think they do a fantastic job.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I still use this site for holiday donations and charity research. It's a great resource and I would never donate somewhere without checking here first.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-6-01

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Rating: 1 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Another ideological left group masquerading as a charity monitor. It's evaluations are designed to favor those receiving government grants and other large gifts... principally those of the ideological left. No self-respecting conservative group would accept government funds. The group's leadership tells us something of its motives. Trent Stamp, its first president, served as congressional staff for a liberal member of Congress. Now he works for the Eisner Foundation, Michael Eisner's foundation. The former Disney CEO is about as left-wing as they come.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that its results are biased against groups with independent funding, favors those groups getting tax-payer support.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Diversify the board, diversify the funding, develop a review system that is equitable and provides donors information they really need... How much goes to programs. Forget the stuff that's irrelevant.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Not much.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

None.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

...say it has its third major donor. The group currently gets most of its funding from its Chairman, philanthropist John Dugan. Additionally, three of Charity Navigator's eight board members are Dugans.

Ways to make it better...

The group's reviews weren't biased towards groups that have their hands in my pockets. Receiving government funding ought to be counted against groups, not for them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The groups has been running in the red for several years and has a limited funding base, harming their credibility. Its reviews useless.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Reviews aren't particularly timely. New 990s are available for some groups more than 6 months before updates are made.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

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Charity Navigator’s rating system was designed to be completely objective and unbiased. We rate all different types of charities, we employ professional staff with all different political preferences and the subjective opinions of our staff do not enter into the equation. A charity’s political leaning makes no impact on its rating. Whether or not a charity receives government funding also has no impact on a charity’s rating. That said, we do have a top 10 list that appears on our site every few months that specifically highlights those highly rated charities that receive no government funding http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topten. I encourage you to check out the ‘methodology’ portion of our site to better understand how we rate charities.